Where am I?
Gaergath blinked and groaned, sitting up slowly in bed. There was light coming in through the two windows, and he could see he was not in his room at Celirwen's. How came he here?
The room was plainly furnished, the bed narrow, but very comfortable. The windows were narrow also, but he could see blue sky and white clouds through them, no fog. The walls were made of grey stone, granite probably, smooth, no pictures hanging on them, only one iron sconce.
His outer clothing lay over a chair nearby; he had on his underdrawers, naught else. Nature's call was urgent, so he groped beneath the bed for a chamber pot, found and used it. Then he sat on the edge of the bed, trying to remember the previous night. But he could recall only bits and pieces, and that was frightening.
And where was his cloak?
He sprang to his feet, looking all around. Then he spied the cupboard in a corner, and fairly wrenched the door open, although it was unnecessary...and found the garment within. Gasping with relief, he clutched it to him. And put it over his shoulders.
Yet even when thus calmed, he still could recall little of the previous night. Sauron had brought him here, no doubt about that. Yet Gaergath could not remember how. Drugged him? Tricked him? Abducted him?
He went to the window and looked out. No fog, yes, he could see clearly enough. He could even open the window, and did so. He could see far and wide now, mountains in the distance, and below, he could see forest, a bit of mist in the treetops which were below him. Farther out, he could see a bit of flowing water. Sticking his head out the window, he could see the wall below, some windows and a walkway. He tried to see upward but the eaves of the roof above obstructed his view.
Where was his father now?
Gaergath felt a constriction in his stomach, and it was not hunger...although he was hungry. He dressed himself quickly, looking about for a mirror and seeing none. He finger-combed his hair, since he had not brought his own comb with him, then hesitated at the door, listening. Then opened it.
He found himself in a long and narrow hallway, and saw that his room was at the end of it, there being another window, larger than the ones in his room. He stood at it looking out, and saw the same forest below, and more running water farther off. Then on a thought he opened the window and leaned out, and found himself on a railed balcony. He stepped out upon it, barely noticing how cool and fresh the air felt, and looked up...to see a very high tower above him, so high he could not see the top, it being obscured in mist.
He could only wonder what was up there, who had built it, and how long it would take him to climb to the top....
He felt a chill all over. He was not sure he wanted to know what was up there.
He stepped back inside, and walked along slowly and softly, as though fearing to disturb any other occupants...whoever and whatever they might be. There were many doors, and he opened some of them, only to see rooms very like his own. The hallway was bisected by another, and in the intersection, where he supposed the entry to the stairway leading to the tower would be, he saw no door, nothing in the ceiling to indicate where the tower would be. He frowned in puzzlement and dread. He was no architect, but he knew a tower of that height would have to have a foundation deep and strong in order to stay up. Yet apparently it was atop this building like a cupola, and had no other foundation other than what lay on top of this story.
And there seemed no access from here. How did Sauron get up into it?
Flight, of course.
Where was Sauron now?
He was starting to remember things now. You have the entire run of this floor, or something to that effect. This floor. How did one get to the others, and how many were there? He had seen the treetops from his room. How high did this building rise, and what was below?
He wished he could remember more.
Then he came to another door, which opened into a narrow room that seemed remotely familiar. There was a fire burning in the fireplace, many sconces and candle-holders, some of which were burning, and some ornamentation that looked a trifle sinister, with dragon's heads and poisonous snakes and forms of ugly birds, and the chairs had feet that resembled those of beasts with long claws. A stone beast the like of which he had never seen before, stood beside the fireplace on a marble block. Its body was like to that of a bull, its head like a strange and very shaggy sort of wolf, its tail long and pointed, its hooves deeply cloven. Its eyes, which were of a red-gold gemstone, seemed to be fixed right upon him. Then there was a high table, with a huge book upon it. He approached it and looked at the cover, which was of dark brown leather and had bronze-gold lettering in a language unfamiliar to him, and a picture that appeared to be the eye of some particularly malevolent beast, wreathed in flame.
He opened the cover, noticing the slight tremor of his fingers as he did so, and looked at the flyleaf, which was also inscribed in the unfamiliar letters, with a drawing below of a hideous monster. Turning the leaf quickly, he saw more writing, that seemed to flame upon the page, in a strange color--not black and not red, but somewhere in between the two.
He heard a strange whispering sound, and realized it was coming from the book. There came a horrid hiss, followed by remote and completely insane laughter, then by agonized moaning.
He shut it abruptly, and the sounds stopped.
His stomach lurched, and once more he wondered where Sauron was.
Very cautiously he opened the book once more. He heard nothing, so he began thumbing through the pages. There were more drawings, some of monsters or snakes or ugly birds, others of what appeared to be people. There were obscene sketches, depicting couples in different positions, some doing such in groups of three or more, some with children and animals. And he heard the whispering again, sounds of moans somewhere between pain and ecstasy, and faint screams of anguish. He shut the book again.
He had to get out of here. But he did not know the way back home.
That was Sauron's doing too, without a doubt. He had put him into a sleep so that he could not see the way here.
He was a prisoner.
Or was he? There was the cloak...and yet he knew that his father had removed some of its power, so that Gaergath would not be able to change form and fly away.
He was a prisoner.
He was trapped here forever, or for as long as Sauron wished him to stay here.
"Good morning, my son," he heard Sauron say from the doorway. And there was Drauglir beside him, looking bored. "You slept rather late. It is near noonday. Are you hungry?"
"Not so very," Gaergath heard himself say. And his stomach growled in contradiction. Sauron smiled.
"Binya was disappointed last night," he said.
"Aye, Binya...the dancer," Sauron chuckled laying a hand on Drauglir's neck. "Do you remember naught of last night? A lovely and sinuous maiden, with hair of flame, dancing her way into your affections? You wished to have her last night, and she went to your room with high expectations...and as she was undressing herself for your pleasure, you fell back onto the bed and began to snore, and she could not awaken you, so she removed your outer clothing and let you lie. She was in a bit of a temper when she came back. It was not pretty to see. I would not care to be the mortal who fell from her good graces. Perhaps you had a little too much wine?"
Binya...Gaergath suddenly did remember the dancers. So one of them had come to him?
And he had fallen asleep before...?
He remembered the pictures in the book....
Sauron laughed aloud.
"Well, perhaps some other time," he said. "Come, my lad. Let us have a bit of luncheon, and become better acquainted."